Gadgets

Punctuation isn’t part of the word, Kindle

I do most of my eBook reading using the Kindle app on my iPad. It’s very simple and works well except for one obnoxious bug. When you highlight a word or passage, the app automatically looks it up. Unfortunately, the highlighting assumes that any string of characters without a space is a word. You can see above that it has selected ‘Time?”‘ as the final word. The most frustrating bit is that it won’t let you adjust the selection to trim off those extra characters, you can only remove whole ‘words’. If you could trim off the last two characters, it would have easily found In Search of Lost Time. I assume this feature is intended mostly for dictionary lookups; imagine how frustrating it is to be unable to look up a word because it comes at the end of a sentence. Unconscionable!

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Gadgets

iPad 3 back up doesn’t work: solved

Since getting my iPad 3 at launch, it has never backed itself up. It always displayed “Unknown” and the “Back Up” option was missing from the right-click menu. Today I finally found a forum post with the solution. I’m reposting it here in hopes that more people find it:

o At first, close iTunes.
o Then, open Terminal and type the following commands in:

defaults write com.apple.iTunes DeviceBackupsDisabled -bool false

defaults write com.apple.iTunes AutomaticDeviceBackupsDisabled -bool false

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Innovation

Analog static is coming back!

YouTube now shows you analog static when embedding has been disabled. They used to just show you a black screen. This seems a bizarre addition. I guess it fits with their logos reminiscent of curved screens and “tube” in their name, but really, how much longer will people actually know what television snow is? YouTube’s core audience certainly skews towards people who have seen very little static in their lives thanks to DVDs, digital satellite tv, digital cable boxes, and finally digital television broadcasts that ended almost all analog tv in 2009. Hollywood hasn’t learned this lesson yet either. I remember watching 2012 in 2009 with scenes of television broadcasts being cut short and tvs going to static. I thought at that time, “Great, now we have to reinvent analog static before the end of the world.”

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Hacks, Hardware, Las Vegas

Ninja Cola, a wirelessly accessible vending machine

jenny mans ninjatel

A couple months ago Chris suggested we hack a vending machine so that you could use non-traditional input to make it serve beverages. I had some experience converting a machine to free mode during our Rainfall project so it didn’t seem too hard. Vending machines are readily available on Craiglist but I made sure to ask amongst friends to avoid the hassle. Craig offered the old vending machine that was sitting in his datacenter, “as long as it comes back eventually and more awesome”. Easy. Continue reading

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